One of our club members said today, "Here we go on our 'venture!" and so we went. We found a lot of fungus along the way, all sorts of colors, and holes in the ground, and leaves for fall. We crossed bridges, climbed in a very big "nest" and made nests of our own. The children picked up sticks and hit the trees and branches with them, and found a tire to jump on. Our unstructured time in the woods was well spent!
"When children are given a chance to engage freely in
adventurous play they quickly learn to assess their own skills and match
them to the demands of the environment. Such children ask
themselves—consciously or unconsciously—“how high can I climb”, or “is
this log across the creek strong enough to support me?” They become
savvy about themselves and their environment. Children who are confident
about taking chances rebound well when things don't work out at first.
They are resilient and will try again and again until they master a
situation that challenges them—or wisely avoid it, if that seems best." Joan Alman, co-founder, Alliance for Early Childhood and advocate for play.
We love our muddy boots time! The children are already comfortable and enjoying the outdoors, and we, as teachers, watch in wonder as they cross bridges independently, move rocks and branches, and play. Today the games were "catching fish" which ended up being an exercise in picking up large sticks (whales and sharks) and piling them on a "fire pit," "billy goats gruff" with practice at being the ogre and the goats trip trapping, and "a huge dinosaur (I can't remember the exact name) is coming," and dinosaur quarters (rocks) being gathered. The bridge was crossed repeatedly and safely, as teachers made sure that traffic was one way and turns were taken. Roots and creek beds were climbed, rocks were stacked and knocked down, and there were a few falls and dusty knees, but also many smiles and laughs. We are happy to allow the children the chance to engage freely in this type of adventurous play, and thankful for the beautiful weather!
We took advantage of a beautiful day to head outside to the trails. Before we set out, we talked about some rules of the muddy boots club, including the most important one; "Who goes first? The teacher goes first!" We make sure to tell the children that they are safe and can explore, but the teacher goes first up and down the trails to make sure that the way ahead is safe and secure. We spotted colored leaves, many holes in the ground, moss, and butterflies. There is a beautiful "nest" constructed of sticks that the children could climb into, and many bridges to cross. We are looking forward to many wonderful muddy boots club days to come!